KINSTON, N.C. – Runs were extremely hard to come by as the Down East Wood Ducks (8-1) split their doubleheader against the Carolina Mudcats (6-3) Thursday night, winning game one in extra innings, 1-0 and falling in game two, 2-0.
The Wood Ducks and Mudcats couldn’t mount any offense against the opposing pitching staff in game one. Down East finally broke through against the Mudcats in extra innings, The Woodies loaded the bases Xavier Valentin started at second and stole third with nobody out. Jayce Easley worked a walk and with the defense sleeping, stole second.
With runners on second and third, Evan Carter was intentionally walked to load the bases. Luisangel Acuña reached first on a fielder’s choice as Valentin was forced out at home. The Mudcats made a defensive shift as Dustin Harris came to the plate, shifting the left fielder to play on the first base side of the infield. With five infielders and two outfielders, Harris rocketed a single to center to score Easley from third and give the Wood Ducks their eighth win of the season 1-0.
Wyatt Sparks took the no-decision, pitching four strong innings, allowing only one hit with one walk and tallying four strikeouts. Nick Starr was the first arm out of the bullpen by Down East. He pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing only one walk and striking out one. Joe Corbett followed with 1 2/3 innings and two strikeouts. Joshua Javier (1-0) earned the win, pitching the final inning and tallying one strikeout.
In game two, the Wood Ducks fell behind early. Due to a fielding error, the Mudcats jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second against Wood Ducks starter Dane Acker. Carolina added a run in the top of the seventh for the 2-0 lead. Down East batters had no answer for Mudcats pitchers in game two, only managing two hits in seven innings.
Acker (0-1) took the loss in game two, allowing one run on one it with one walk and six strikeouts in three innings of work. Ben Anderson entered in the fourth inning, pitching three innings of shutout baseball allowing one hit with two walks and three strikeouts. Leury Tejada pitched the final inning, allowing one run on one hit with one walk and one strikeout.
Down East and Carolina continue their six-game series tomorrow with first pitch at 7:00 p.m. The Woodies will start RH Tekoah Roby (0-0, 0.00) and Carolina will start Michele Vassalotti (0-0, 2.25)
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